Allegation: Top Rivers INEC officials land in EFCC trouble over N186m bribery charges

Allegation: Top Rivers INEC officials land in EFCC trouble over N186m bribery charges

- Two INEC officials in Rivers state, Gesila Khan and Peter Popnen, have been accused of being involved in a N186m bribery scandal

- Khan and Popnen are being arraigned by the EFCC in a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers state

- The case was adjourned by the presiding judge, Justice Bilkisu Aliyu, to Wednesday, May 9, and Thursday, May 10

Two top officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Gesila Khan and Peter Popnen, have been accused of N186 million bribery scandal by Justice Bilikisu Aliyu of the federal High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers state, on Tuesday, May 9.

Both operatives of the commission are presently being arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Premium Times reports.

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Some of the documents presented by the EFCC and which were admitted as exhibits by the court are as follows: an architectural plan of two buildings not declared by 1st defendant in her assets declaration form; a response from INEC dated April 26, 2016; a forensic laboratory report of handwriting specimen of the 2nd defendant; a forensic report of handwriting specimen of the 1st defendant; a response from Fidelity bank dated April 21, 2016; a Deed of Conveyance of the 1st defendant and an Assets Declaration Form and INEC Identity Card of the 1st defendant

The prosecution counsel, Ademiju Olatunji presented her first witness, Taiwo Idonnuegbe, a staff of Fidelity Bank, before the court.

Idonnuegbe told the court that he paid the N186 million to the Khan and Popnen in March 2015, by an instruction from his divisional head, while working at the Trans-Amadi branch of the bank in Port Harcourt.

He said that the money was brought from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and after Popnen signed and collected the money, he gave a part of it to Khan in her office.

A move to present the receipt of payment of the money to both suspects by Olatunji was opposed by the lead defence counsel, S. Larry, who argued that Khan did not have any contact with Idonnuegbe and the receipt. He also argued that the hand writing of his client was not the same as what was on the receipt.

Adoke Usman, another prosecution witness, an operative of EFCC, told the court that he was part of an Adhoc-Committee that investigated Rivers state INEC’s staff in April 2016. According to Mr Usman, the recovered footage from Fidelity bank's CCTV revealed how Popnen loaded the money into a Toyota Hilux vehicle. Also, he tendered two forensic examiner report for each of the defendants.

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Justice Bilkisu Aliyu, the presiding judge, adjourned the matter to Wednesday, May 9, and Thursday, May 10, for continuation of the court hearing.

Meanwhile, NAIJ.com reported that there was relative fear at the Adamawa government house following investigations being carried out by the EFCC.

NAIJ.com gathered that the anti-graft agency stormed the state and interrogated four top government officials.

The EFCC stage a walk against corruption - On NAIJ.com TV

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Source: Naija.ng

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